I'm a little delayed in writing this up, so this is a little light on the details. My memory cells aren't what they used to be!
This was a getaway trip for myself and 2 of my friends. Neither of them had sailed RCCL before. Two of us flew in the day before and stayed at the Crowne Plaza, which we got a good price on through Priceline. Honestly, if I hadn't gotten a good price on it, this is NOT a hotel I'd stay at again. It's very clean, and rooms were good sized, but the location is pretty awful if you don't have a car. For one night it was okay, but you can do better.
We met up with our third person at the port and boarding was a breeze. I always give the porter a buck or so per bag, but the one we had didn't have her hand out and actually walked away after tagging our bags. I gave her a tip anyway, but for those stressing about it, I think it's all in who you get. We went up to the WJ, which seemed busier than usual. Food was as expected - sufficient, but nothing to write home about. Staff was extremely attentive and polite.
We had a JS on Deck 10, and I could be mistaken, but the balcony seemed bigger (wider) to me than my previous JS on the Navigator. We had 2 loungers, a table, and a third deck chair. I had bumped up from an aft balcony for the JS and was glad I did. the bigger closet and bathroom really make a difference with 3 people in the cabin. The balcony wasn't my huge aft one, but the size was plenty sufficient for 3 of us. Our cabin attendant was perfect. I gave him a little tip at the beginning and he took care of everything we needed without being under our feet. I'm sure he would have done this without the tip, but I think these people work damn hard and I like to let them know I appreciate them up front.
I had made reservations for most shows, but we ended up missing In the Air because of dinner taking so long. We did MTD, and I have to say, this was the one negative for me on this ship. I did pre-book my times, but on previous cruises, if we needed to fudge those times a little bit, it was never a problem. We were never seated right away. There was almost always a line, and even if it was a short line, it seemed to take a long time. Formal night, we came a half hour early. I knew we'd probably have to wait a bit, but the attendant told us we could not be seated and to come back in a half hour. Okay, it wasn't a HUGE deal and I get that we had a reservation, but I thought the point of MTD was to have flexibility for when you want to dine? My two friends had only sailed NCL and both said the NCL MTD works a lot more smoothly with complete flexibility for when you want to arrive. Like I said, it wasn't a huge deal, but I realized that I prefer my usual late dining time, with my regular table and regular servers. I guess I'm just not a MTD kinda cruiser. Also, the service in the MTD area was slower than I've ever had on a cruise. Like I said, we actually missed one of the shows one evening. It took forever for us to even get water, let alone our meals. Maybe just a bad night? I'm not sure.
Let me be clear, I'm actually not blaming the staff, they seemed simply overwhelmed and were running around taking care of (maybe?) too many tables. I don't know if this was a fluke, or typical of MTD on this ship. I've done it twice before (Brilliance and Allure), and this was the worst I've experienced in terms of promptness.
Food was the usual choices - but I will say that we all really enjoyed our meals. The Sea Bass on Lentils was fantastic, as was the Filet on formal night. We ate at Portofino's on the last night and it was delicious with a very friendly and professional staff.
We enjoyed Saturday Night Fever, but for us it was very nostalgic as that was our high school years! Production and choreography were impressive, and our favorite singer was the girl playing Annette. The schedule/night for the show was changed since I had originally booked it online. I didn't realize this and, without meaning to, we ended up in the the theater watching a juggler and one of the In the Air guys performing. Talented guys, but I probably would not have gone if I had noticed the schedule change.
Double-check your show times, even if you pre-book everything!
Ice Show was great, as were the guest performers with the hula hoops. I know I've seen them before on another ship. We saw the late night comic the first night. He was good, not the best I've seen, but not the worst.
I do recommend people make and use the show reservations if you want good seats. You can still get in without them, but with limited seating choices.
Cruise Director, James Andrews was very good. He was approachable and friendly. Love and Marriage show was a little more subdued, but am I the only one who is suspicious of most of the contestants having gone over their answers? Not a biggie, still an entertaining show. The Quest was held in the smaller Sphinx theater as opposed to Studio B, which really threw me. James explained that the floor of Studio B is in need of maintenance and that's why the change. It actually ended up being a lot of fun (we were robbed!), although I do hope they fix the floor soon since the smaller room limits the visibility of what's going on quite a bit for the audience.
Since neither of my friends were able to go into the Diamond Lounge, I only went once. Nikola was very sweet and helpful. Love the free specialty coffee machine in there as well as the outdoor tables.
In Cozumel, I decided that we'd check out Paradise Beach since I hadn't been there since they re-did the pool area, and I didn't want an all-inclusive. It was AWESOME, and thankfully, not crowded at all. The new pool is really beautiful with loungers lining the perimeter in the water's edge. The beach was fine, plenty of loungers with umbrellas, and service and food was prompt. I think this has replaced Nachi as my go-to spot in Cozumel now.
Maybe we got lucky, but debarkation really wasn't a big deal. We decided to take #11 and get off around 9am-ish since we weren't in a huge rush. I think we were called around 9:15 and did the long-ish walk to customs. Maybe a 10 minute wait in line? Then right to our luggage and a few minutes wait for a cab to FLL.
Overall, the Liberty looked fabulous and is in great shape. Aside from my MTD issues (apparently I'm just a spoiled Late Night Dining gal), we were extremely pleased with this cruise. 4-days is never enough, but a short getaway is better than none at all!